Great Bend Township's three member Board met on Wednesday, July 10th for their monthly meeting. Several residents attended to personally thank the Board for repairing the potholes on roads in the Township. One resident also thanked Board member Sheila Guinan for her tireless efforts on repairing the walking trail in Great Bend. Guinan met with representatives from FEMA/PEMA, filled out forms and attended meetings in hopes of getting funding to repair the walking trail. She also kept residents informed at the monthly meetings. Unfortunately, Guinan's efforts did not pay off. The Board was notified that they would not be receiving any reimbursement funds from either FEMA or PEMA. However, both residents and Board members agreed the walking trail would be fixed, one way or the other. The Board is now making plans to advertise for bids to repair a wall along the walking trail. A resident who volunteers his time to take care of the walking trail reported to those in attendance that people were still using the trail and picnic tables had been placed along the trail.
Yet, one resident was present to ask the Board why a pipe near her home had not been maintained and cleaned out. The back-up from the clogged pipe was causing extensive flooding to her landscaped lawn. Board member Brian O'Connor said he was aware of the pipe and complaints about flooding from the pipe. Although he said he had not seen it personally, O'Connor told the resident he had plans to ask the fire department to unclog the pipe, but he couldn't promise that damage would not be done to the resident's landscaped lawn.
The Board reported to those present that they were still in the process of obtaining quotes to repair other roads in the Township and costs on erecting guardrails. They also told residents that they had not spoken to the Army Corp. of Engineers recently and did not know when they planned to study the creeks in Great Bend Township. Discussions about the repairs needed to a bridge on Airport Road were taking place as well, but no concrete plans have been agreed upon.
County Commissioners approved nearly $400,000 in financial assistance for County EMS and fire departments at Wednesday's, July 10th Commissioners' meeting. Which fire departments and ambulatory services get the financial assistance, or how much each will receive was not offered by the Commissioners. However, Commissioner Alan Hall stated that the funds would come from the County's Act 13 account. Act 13 is comprised of monies oil and gas companies are required to give Pennsylvania for the use of land. Why the funds were needed and what the money will be used for was also not provided. An EMS worker from Clifford Township was present at the meeting. He said he came to personally thank the Commissioners for the financial assistance.
Service recognitions for three county employees were handed out by the Commissioners at the meeting. Joanne Bentler-Alfano from Registers & Recorders, Salena Herman from the Sheriff Department and Elizabeth Karpov from CYS were recognized for five years of employment with the County. Bentler-Alfano and Herman were in attendance to receive their awards.
Six County employee seminars were approved through a motion by the Commissioners. The seminars will not cost the County any money.
Per the recommendation of Warden Mark Shelp, the Commissioners approved the termination of two part-time corrections officers. Rachel Carrico was removed as a Right to Know Officer, per the recommendation of Chief Clerk Robert Hyde.
Through a motion made by the Commissioners, a 2010 Dodge Caravan will be advertised for bids in local newspapers and on-line at municibid.com. Municibid.com is an on-line auction for government surplus. Although only government agencies can sell on municibid.com, anyone from the public can buy.
According to Commissioner Warren, members from the Susquehanna Dairy Famers will be making ice cream sundaes, in Courthouse Square on July 22nd, in recognition of ice cream month, weather permitting.
At its meeting on July 8th, the Mountain View School Board made another effort in the perennial struggle to keep up with the fashions of youth. Its policy committee is developing the latest dress code in all of its diversity. And at least with the most recent reading, hooded garments ("hoodies") are allowed, but must be worn with the hood down. Superintendent Karen Voigt told the Board that "hiding things in hoodies is not a problem here," but the policy was revised to state, "hoods must remain down at all times."
"Spirit wear," however, aroused some discussion; it seems that garments of almost any kind that display the school colors or logos will be permitted at any time. Other types of garments that display verbiage or other types of designs and logos are restricted.
Acknowledging that youngsters will continue to probe the boundaries of propriety, the policy nonetheless tries to limit the possibilities, by listing in detail all of the types of shirts, dresses, pants, shorts and whatnot that are – and are not – allowed, and further categorizes everything by grade level. Penalties for nonconformance can rise to in- or out-of-school suspension (ISS or OSS) and even after-school detention, with parents to be consulted. Administrators are given broad discretion in questionable cases.
The Board and its committee will continue to review the dress code policy, but they want to have it finalized as soon as possible so that parents are aware in good time to prepare for the next school year.
A minor dustup followed the opening of bids for "shuttle bus" service. The Board received four bids for 3 different runs ranging from $105 to $75 per day. Most of the bidders attended to support their offerings. One operator noted that a competitor seemed to be paid more than was bid last year and asked if that was fair. In one case, the operator said that she kept her charges low for the past several years in order to encourage more participation in after-school events; now she wanted more to help to "catch up." In any case, the Board tabled the matter for decision at a later date.
Business Manager Tom Witiak reported that the tax bills had all been corrected following a third revision to fix another 130 or so that had been incorrectly computed for the homestead/farmstead exemption. He said that the reason for the snafus was not clear, but may have resulted from the data passed from the county to the firm that generates the bills.
Maintenance Supervisor Bob Taylor reported busy times on the campus, with contractors beginning work on the various projects in store for the summer, including the ball fields, the lobby, gym flooring, concrete work, and new outer doors. His own staff has been working hard on the annual cleaning and polishing.
Ms. Voigt told the Board that the popular Big Brother/Big Sister program is being discontinued. She also broached the state's proposal of "flexible snow days," which would allow students to work on their assignments from home, on their computers. A number of Board members brought up some problematic aspects of the idea, particularly for a relatively poor and rural area like that served by Mountain View.
In other business, the Board, among other routine items,
The Mountain View School Board continues to meet twice monthly through the summer. The next public session is scheduled for July 22, 2019 beginning at 7:00pm in the Zick Conference Room in the Elementary School.
The Self Discovery Wellness Arts Center, located on Lake Avenue in Montrose held its annual Lavender Festival on Saturday, July 13th. The Center has become a staple of Montrose, offering yoga, tai chi and meditation classes. And sometimes holding special events, such as the Lavender Festival.
Lavender is a member of the herb family, specifically the mint family. The flower and oil of lavender is used to make medicines, according to WebMd. It is commonly used for anxiety, restlessness, insomnia and depression. It also has antibacterial and anti-fungal effects. It can be used as a food enhancer and is often found in perfumes.
If you have never tasted lavender, the festival provided a good opportunity to. There were several foods containing lavender that could be purchased for a minimal fee. Lemonade and iced tea infused with lavender was available. Brownies, cookies, ice cream and truffles made by Chocolates of Leopold with the Center's lavender were on display and available to purchase.
If you like pottery, there was a small display of clay bowls to peruse, or even purchase. One display table offered customers the chance to buy several pieces of jewelry. The Center had a bongo player, tapping on the bongos while people viewed the few display areas.
Soaps, body sprays, chapsticks, scented oils of various scents were on display with test bottles that allowed customers the opportunity to smell the aromas before buying. Jars of honey made with a variety of added scents, including lavender were available as well.
A few of the vendors were garbed in shades of purple in honor of the fragrant bloom. Some customers got into the spirit as well, also dressing in the purple hue.
Two bids were received on July 10th for the lighting needed for the Ira Reynolds Riverfront Park Grant Project and Council opened them during their monthly meeting held that day. Richard Mellow Electric, located in Dickson City submitted a bid for two hundred forty-seven thousand, four hundred dollars. Mark Whitehead Electrical Contractor Inc., from Kingsley submitted a bid for one hundred ninety-four thousand dollars.
Council President Roy Williams stated, by law they must accept the lowest qualified bid and Council unanimously accepted the bid from Mark Whitehead Electrical Contractor that will be submitted to the Department of Community of Economic Development (DCED) for their approval. The bid price includes all electric components needed for the park light posts, power poles and installation. Transformer will be provided by Penelec and paid out of the bid price.
At a special Council meeting held on June 17th, bids were opened for the trail and fence section of the park. Wayco Inc. and Rutledge Excavating submitted bids for the trail and Wayco Inc. bid was accepted at the lowest bid at a price of one hundred forty-two thousand, nine hundred sixty-five dollars and twenty-seven cents. Keystone Fence Supplies and Whitmore Fence Co. submitted bids for the fence with Whitmore Fence Co. bid accepted as the lowest bid at fifty-seven thousand, one hundred seventy-three dollars and thirty cents.
Treesmiths Utility Arborists have been contracted by Penelec to clear the power lines and a representative contacted President Williams to speak about the vegetation on the east and west side of Frank J. Reddon Park. Treesmiths would like to use a chemical, which is safe for the environment, humans and aquatic life to take care of the vegetation near the park. Representatives gave President Williams the Material Data Safety sheet for the chemical and he checked with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture both confirming the chemical would be safe to use near the park.
Council spoke about the process for a few minutes and President Williams stated he would inform Treesmiths he would like a twenty-five foot buffer between the chemical spray and the park with a five foot mechanical excavation within the twenty-five foot buffer.
Kevin McKee from DEP stated he spoke with the PennDOT representative regarding the traffic light and was informed they were just waiting for one signature but the project was approved. PennDOT will bring up the stop sign and the traffic light will be programed to blink for thirty days. The Borough would be responsible to keep track of complaints and any accidents during the thirty-day period. President Williams clarified the traffic signal will blink red facing the bridge and yellow on Main Street. Changing the traffic signal from a red-green to blinking will save the Borough thousands of dollars from not undertaking a project to move the current transformer, which is falling down a slope. Mr. McKee stated a smaller transformer would be needed for a blinking light.
Mayor Nancy Hurley wants people to beware of scam calls and warns them to never give personal information to callers you can not verify are valid. She stated she received a message on her voicemail saying they were charging her charge card for a check they did on her computer. When she spoke to them they claimed they were from Microsoft – they were not.
Code Enforcement Officer Butch Kelsey supplied his report to Council that contained fifty-six Notices of Violations, eleven Citations, two Building Permits, one Rental Application for the month of June. Most of the violations were for uncut grass and weeds, but others included accumulation of rubbish and debris, and structural issues.
Viaduct Pocket Park has four propane tanks next to a building alongside the park and the owner would like to change out the four tanks with one large tank. In order for the larger tank to be used it would encroach on the park. The owner approached President Williams and asked permission to bury the tank under a section of the Borough's property. Council spoke for a few moments about the value of burying the tank and decided they would ask their Solicitor, Michael Briechle to draw up an agreement.
The Great Bend Borough Council meeting on this lucky July 11th (7/11) was typically civilized. Oh, there was the usual cacophony of voices, three or four different conversations going on all at once, but that's traditional here, don't ya know. The little village is looking forward to the upcoming community gathering on the 20th, and residents should note that some streets around Lee Weigand Memorial Park will be closed for the event, which is scheduled to run from about 11am until about 3pm. Best of all, everything is free.
Council is always most interested in the town's appearance, and there was another extended discussion about the flags on Main Street. They are aging, and Council is considering asking the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to supply 25 new ones, as they have in the past. Additionally, residents are encouraged to purchase banners for individual veterans (and active duty service members), which would also be hung on poles along Main Street; the Borough office has details.
Council discussed a couple of enduring issues of note: trying to get residents to keep their properties neat and clean; and trying to restrict parking and enforce one-way travel on narrow Williams Street. Several property owners appear to be unreachable, making it difficult to serve notice of ordinance violations. Council has been considering a generalized set of property maintenance regulations, but so far nothing has come of that.
Council also discussed the possibility of forming a winter ice rink over the basketball court in Memorial Park, and asked the Borough's maintenance employee, Dan Stroka to look into the possibilities. And some members suggested purchasing a stock of road salt well in advance of winter.
Amid all that, the only actual motion that passed was one to appropriate $350 to have a tree removed from VFW Park that was felled in a storm.
The treasurer's report showed a deposit of $54,754.86 from the state Public Utilities Commission: a distribution from the "impact fee" money paid by area natural gas operators under Act 13 of 2012. As of July 9, 2019, the Borough had over $168,000 in the bank.
Police Chief Jon Record had little to report this month. But he did remind hearers that Tuesday, August 6 will be the date for the National Night Out, a community-building event that attempts to get citizens and their police to know one another better. This year the Great Bend police will be in Midtown Park in New Milford; they will be in New Milford and Great Bend in alternate years. Other venues are the elementary school in Susquehanna, Kennedy Park in Forest City, and Memorial Park in Montrose. Come out and meet your local officers between 5pm and 8pm.
This month the meeting was a week later than usual because Independence Day fell on Thursday. The Great Bend Borough Council meets on the first Thursday of each month in the Borough Building – aka the Blue Ridge Senior Center – at Franklin and Elizabeth Streets beginning at 7:00pm.